EPIDEMIC: This mutation of the coronavirus would be much more contagious but would not be more deadly than the traditional version
The first case of contamination by the coronavirus Covid-19 mutated variant that appeared in the United Kingdom was detected in France on Friday, two days before the launch, in France, of the vaccination campaign against the virus. The presence of this variant was confirmed in Tours, in a Frenchman usually residing in the United Kingdom. The man is asymptomatic and has been isolated at his home, said the Ministry of Health, which announced the first case.
This is the “first contamination with the VOC 202012/01 variant of the coronavirus Covid-19 virus” detected in France, he explains. This variant appeared in September in the UK and studies indicate it may be more contagious.
The search for contact cases to begin
The man arrived “from London on December 19th” and was “taken care of” at the hospital two days later, and “tested positive for the coronavirus”. Doctors suspecting that he is affected by the variant strain, a “sequencing” of the virus carried by this patient had been requested from the National Reference Center for Respiratory Infections Viruses. The latter confirmed the infection with the VOC 202012/01 variant on Friday.
“The health authorities carried out contact-tracing of health professionals who took care of the patient and in search of his contact persons at risk, to proceed to their strict isolation”, it is specified. . In addition to this case, “to date, several positive samples that may suggest the VOC 202012/01 variant are being sequenced by the CNR laboratories”, adds the ministry.
50 to 74% greater contagiousness
Like other European countries, France had feared for several days the presence of the virus within its borders, despite the re-containment of London and part of England, as well as the suspension as a precaution of trans-links. Channel, then the introduction of compulsory tests to return to France.
In addition, a procedure has also been put in place for people returning from South Africa, “where another variant of SARS-CoV-2 is currently circulating actively,” recalls the ministry. Monday, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran admitted that it was “possible” that the variant is already circulating in France. A similar case was reported in Germany, in a woman arriving by plane from London, and in Lebanon, also in a London passenger.
According to several studies presented in the United Kingdom, the new variant of the coronavirus is more contagious than the original strain. One of them, posted online Thursday, estimates that this contagiousness is greater by “50% to 74%” and that this could have consequences on the number of deaths and hospitalizations linked to Covid-19 across the Channel . But nothing shows at this stage that this variant leads to more serious forms.